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Teaching peak oil to preteens

Luz Sees The Light

Luz Sees the Light: A graphic novel series

by Claudia Davila
(Kids Can Press,
2011;
$8.95)

What will our cities look like from a preteen's perspective in the not-too-distant future when peak oil pushes gas and food prices to new heights? No rides to the mall? No eating out? City-wide blackouts? Catastrophic! It was to Luz and her friends at first, but through a little bit of creativity and preteen gumption they discover the hidden potentials of an abandoned lot in their neighbourhood. Claudia Dávila's debut graphic novel, Luz Sees the Light, sets Luz and her friends on a path to transform their fossil-fueled world.

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Kenk: Bike thief with a green agenda?

Kenk

Kenk

by Richard Poplak, Alex Jansen, Jason Gilmore and Nick Marinkovich
(Pop Sandbox,
2010;
$27.95)

"Let's face it. I am troublemaker." But like most of the terms that might apply to him, Igor Kenk has taken troublemaker to extremes. Infamous in Toronto even before his arrest in 2008, Igor's name is synonymous with "bike thief" for good reason: in addition to drugs, police searches turned up nearly three thousand bikes in his various storage spaces across the city, some of which were later returned to their rightful owners and many others donated to charity.

The story unraveled and became even weirder-expanding to include Igor's beautiful Julliard-trained pianist wife, his wild claims inside and outside of court, and his attempts to buy back his bikes from a Cabbagetown non-profit after his 2010 release.

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Hipless in Montreal

Hipless Boy by Sherwin Tjia

The Hipless Boy

by Sherwin Tjia
(Conundrum Press,
2009;
$19.95)

Set against a backdrop of urban Montreal, The Hipless Boy is a collection of 45 semi-autobiographical short stories by Sully, the pen name of poet, graphic novelist and illustrator Sherwin Tjia. Originally a weekly column in the McGill Daily, The Hipless Boy introduces readers to Tjia's protagonist, aptly named Sully, who is your typical sketch-book carrying, sushi-eating, poetry-writing urbanite who grapples with his surroundings, feeling alien in a neighbourhood dominated by noisy nightclubs and girls in stilettos.

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Grace under pressure

 Skim

Skim

by Mariko Tamaki; Jillian Tamaki, illus.
( Groundwood Books,
2008;
$16.95)
Skim is hardly the average coming of age story. Set in Toronto in the early 1990s, Skim is a character study of 16-year-old Kimberly Keiko Cameron (a.k.a. Skim).

The debut graphic novel for young adults, by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, is also an accurate portrayal of the irony and hypocrisy that often characterizes adolescence.

An aspiring Wiccan, Goth and visual artist, Skim is thoughtful and articulate, though the other students at her all-female private school would never know it. She spends her school days observing the popular crowd from afar, and then filling her journal with words and sketches that express her loneliness and isolation.

Struggling with her sexual identity, Skim sparks a close relationship with Ms. Archer, her freckle-faced teacher.

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Fighting gravity

 Something to pet the cat about

Something to pet the cat about

by Elisabeth Belliveau
( Conundrum Press,
2005;
$19.95)
An ornately jewelled tiara. Strings ofexcessive beadwork trail off the crown andmake their way down the page. In the midst ofit all, this inscription: âeoeStanding up alone is amiracle with all this gravity.âe

Something to Pet the Cat About, the debutgraphic novel from Montreal-based artist andwriter Elisabeth Belliveau, compiles the artzines that generated much buzz when shebegan circulating them in Montreal.Divided into five segments âe" Country Music,Love, September Album, February and AfterHorses âe" Something to Pet the Cat About is arichly textured world.

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Show and tell

 Dragonslippers

Dragonslippers

by Rosalind B. Penfold
( Penguin Canada,
2005;
$20.00)

FOR a decade, Rosalind B. Penfold (a pseudonym) drew pictures. A heart ripping apart, a naked man juggling women, her own self spun yo-yo-like from a giant hand. Page by page, she created a visual diary of her abusive relationship and then hid each one away in a cardboard box as quickly as she made them.

Years later, she revisited these black-and-white images to create the graphic narrative of Dragonslippers: This Is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like. Recently released in Canada, the book is scheduled for publication in another nine countries so far.

Dragonslippers follows the arc of the character Rosalind's relationship with the abusive Brian, and her eventual escape.

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